We seem to be making a habit of this.
Two seasons in the U.S. Open Cup, two consecutive quarterfinal appearances at home against the Portland Timbers. In 2018, LAFC held off the Timbers in a 3-2 victory to advance to the first semifinal in Club history.
That match saw the Black & Gold take an early 2-0 lead before having to hold off Portland to secure passage to the next round. It was a contentious match with plenty of intrigue on and off the pitch. Tempers flared, tackles flew, and the disdain was on full display. Remind you of any recent LAFC-Timbers matches?
Let's just say, there's been little love lost since then.
A spot in the Open Cup semifinal is on the line. And it's another step towards the first silverware in Club history. Here's a preview of the U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal match between LAFC and the Portland Timbers:
USOC Quarterfinal | LAFC vs Portland Timbers, July 10 at 7:30pm PT
Where To Watch
TV: Streaming on ESPN+
To reach the quarterfinals, like LAFC, the Timbers dispatched of two MLS sides. In the fourth round, the Timbers knocked out rivals Seattle with a 2-1 victory. Gio Savarese's side then brushed aside the Galaxy at home with a resounding 4-0 victory. They come into this match having won their last two regular-season matches by identical 1-0 scorelines.
What The Team Is Saying
Mark-Anthony Kaye on the team's confidence ahead of the quarterfinal: "When you're able to win games, it gives you confidence going into the next one. We know that this Open Cup game against Portland is going to be very big. It's a big rivalry. We want to be in the best form possible. I think with scoring 11 goals in two games that gives a lot of motivation for our attacking players going forward and try to continue that aggression in front of the net."
Lee Nguyen on what to expect against the Timbers: "We've seen Portland enough times, we know what they're going to bring... we have to focus our mindset on getting that win."
LAFC Projected Starting XI
(4-3-3): Pablo Sisniega; Jordan Harvey, Eddie Segura, Tristan Blackmon, Steven Beitashour; Eduard Atuesta, Mark-Anthony Kaye, Latif Blessing; Diego Rossi, Adama Diomande, Carlos Vela.
What To Watch For
Temper, Temper: Will cooler heads prevail? The last time these two teams met, the lasting memory was of hard fouls and a near skirmish at midfield. That's really too bad, as the match itself had a lot to offer. No doubt, the officials for this match will have studied the previous encounter between these two. It wouldn't surprise anyone if there is a caution shown at the first instance of a hard foul in the match. It might be the only way to control what will be a heated contest, to say the least.
Back At Full Strength: Walker Zimmerman and Tyler Miller have returned to the squad following the Gold Cup. LAFC is now at full strength with Mark-Anthony Kaye and Peter-Lee Vassell back in the fold a week earlier. How much those two will feature is unknown though. Pablo Sisniega started the competition with two strong performances between the posts. There's a good chance he's given an opportunity to finish what he started. For Zimmerman, it's about where his fitness is at this moment in time. The center back didn't feature in the last two matches for the U.S. Men's National Team, meaning he may be fresh or could need some reps to get back into rhythm with the squad. If Zimmerman isn't ready, the emergence of Tristan Blackmon over the past month gives Bob Bradley a proven option to pair with Eddie Segura.
Stars Being Stars: Brian Fernandez and Carlos Vela are hands down the hottest players in MLS at this moment. Vela has three goals and two assists in his last two matches. Fernandez set an MLS record with goals in each of his first five appearances for Portland. The Argentine forward finally had that streak snapped this past weekend. But you can count on him playing a part one way or another in this match.